A Supportive Approach to Supervising Students Reading for a Phd in Systems and Software Engineering


Supervising a PhD student is a complex teaching task as it involves a very unstructured environment and many intellectual challenges and stimuli, and it often requires a compatible student/supervisor relationship for successful outcomes. It is therefore not surprising that it has been reported that an aspect of teaching and learning that has been overlooked in higher education is research student supervision. Typical problems of poor supervision include: high rates of dissatisfaction with supervisors and high attrition rates and slow rates of completion for students. It has also been reported that there is no set prescription on appropriate and successful supervision; rather, the interactions between quality and style of supervision, and the field of study have all to be considered. It is not easy to know what a student and his/her supervisor should be doing in order to succeed. We are thus motivated to present in this paper our approach to supervising students reading for a PhD in systems and software engineering. This approach is centered on motivating students to learn and to do research by having supervisory activities that support their development throughout their candidature.

Share and Cite:

Lai, R. (2012) A Supportive Approach to Supervising Students Reading for a Phd in Systems and Software Engineering. Creative Education, 3, 912-915. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.326138.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Armstrong, S. (2004). The impact of supervisors’ cognitive styles on the quality of research supervision in management education. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 599-616.
[2] AVCC (Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee) (1990). The progress of higher degree students. Canberra: Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.
[3] Cullen, D. J. (1989). A future for postgraduate study at the Australian national university. Canberra: Australian National University Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association.
[4] Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[5] DEST (2007). Research quality framework: Assessing the quality and impact of research in Australia, RQF submission specifications. Department of Education, Science and Training.
[6] Dev, P. C. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and academic achievement: What does their relationship imply for the classroom teacher? Remedial and Special Education, 18, 12-19. doi:10.1177/074193259701800104
[7] Glass, R., (2000). An assessment of systems and software engineering scholars and institutions. Journal of Systems and Software, 54, 77-82.
[8] Heath, T. (2002). A quantitative analysis of PhD students’ views of supervision. Higher Education Research and Development, 21, 42- 57. doi:10.1080/07294360220124648
[9] Kam, B. H. (1997). Style and quality in research supervision: The supervisor dependency factor. Springer: Higher Education.
[10] Karimi, R., & Khan, S. (2007). Key elements towards academic success for non-traditional students in a pharmacy school. Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 3, 427-430.
[11] Lai, R. (1992). Teaching protocol engineering in honours year. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 640, 143-156.
[12] Lai, R. (1994a). A network engineering major embedded in a computer systems engineering degree. Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Information Technology in Training and Education. Brisbane
[13] Lai, R. (1994b). Teaching communication protocol development using formal method. Journal of Academic Computing and Information Systems, 1, 38-47.
[14] LTU (2006). La Trobe University handbook for candidates and supervisors for masters degrees by research and doctoral degrees.
[15] Ryan, R., & Decci, E. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1020
[16] Sathye, M. (2005). Supervisory practice: A qualitative study. Qualitative Social Research, 6
[17] Sharma, N., & Lai, R. (1995). Quality assurance for honours project. Journal of Academic Computing and Information Systems, 2, 27-33.
[18] Sinclair, M. (2004). The pedagogy of “good” supervision: A national cross-disciplinary investigation of PhD supervision. Department of Education, Science and Training.
[19] Sommerville I. (2010). Software engineering (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Addison Wesley.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.